HDR chooses Aksarben Village site for new headquarters
By Cindy Gonzalez
HDR has announced the site for its new global headquarters: midtown Omaha’s Aksarben Village.
The building is to rise 10 stories and cover about 245,000 square feet, including about 18,000 square feet of retail space, at the corner of 67th and Frances Streets. It will anchor the last huge tract to be developed on the former thoroughbred horse-racing grounds. HDR’s corporate office structure is to be connected by a skywalk to a parking garage that will start with 1,150 stalls and include ground-level retail. Together, the pieces will cost about $110 million and will be leased from owner Noddle Bradford Holdings. Wednesday’s announcement by the engineering and HDR headquarters – showcase a rendering of HDR’s planned headquarters at Aksarben Village.
That site, a surface parking area at 11th and Dodge Streets, was discarded by HDR after it could not come to terms with the majority owner, Omaha Performing Arts.HDR waited to announce its replacement site until a long-term lease was signed, and the design finished. Construction is slated to begin later this year and be completed in early 20 19.
HDR chairman and CEO George Little described the new location as ideal for the HDR workforce based in Omaha and outside the city.
He said the central Omaha campus has convenient Interstate access from the airport for visitors and is within a stroll of restaurants, entertainment, hotels and the Keystone pedestrian and bike trail.
“We’re excited to be in a vibrant area that we had a hand in revitalizing, and happy to be part of the area’s strong educational presence including engineering, architecture and construction management programs at the University ofNebraska and Peter Kiewit Institute,” Little said in a press release.
HDR is familiar with Aksarben Village: It crafted the initial master plan for the urban village and has conducted traffic studies for the area.
Among the firm’s other design work in the area: Baxter Arena, Gordmans’ headquarters and the Think Whole Person Healthcare building.
Little, who declined to be interviewed, said in the release that the new headquarters immediately will be able to house 1,150 employees. There is room to the north of the building for future HDR growth. Until that growth area is needed, it is to serve as parkland or public space complementing activities envisioned in the area bounded by 67th Street, 64th Avenue, Frances and Shirley Streets, said Jay Noddle, whose Noddle Companies is developer for the HDR project. Noddle said that in addition to HDR, the tract is slated for apartments and another office and retail structure. A highlight of the campus will be an alleyway of sorts between the HDR building and the parking garage.
As envisioned, Noddle said, it will be lined with eclectic retail shops, restaurants and entertainment venues that would create a different vibe than other parts of Aksarben Village. Noddle called HDR a “perfect fit” that will further energize the village. “They are such a hugely important employer, and to have them stay here and grow here and be in the middle of Omaha is a big, big win for our community.” Currently, HDR has about 900 employees based in Omaha. Worldwide, the company that specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services has nearly 10,000 employees in more than 225 locations. HDR was formerly known as Henningson Durham & Richardson. Speculation on where HDR would build its headquarters began more than a year ago when Little said the company had outgrown the suburbanstyle campus it has occupied since 1972.
HDR had been leasing that campus near 84th and Dodge Streets from the Durham family trust. Earlier this month, the campus and its structures were purchased by Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. As planned, HDR will be the architect of its new building. First National Bank of Omaha is providing financing for the project; Kiewit Building Group will provide construction services. Little said Noddle Companies still must submit an amendment to the Aksarben Village MixedUse Agreement and a taxincrement financing application to the City of Omaha. “This location will serve our needs today and take us well into the future,” he said. Read more • Children’s land deal gives HDR more flexibility in quest for new headquarters • 100 parking stalls proved a tipping point in HDR giving up on downtown site • Complete coverage of HDR’s new headquarters plans